The United States Air Force is has announced it will be sending an array of aircraft to next month’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds.
It will send aircraft from both of its British bases, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, as well as some on deployment from further afield.
Appearing for the first time in a UK flying display will be a Bell Boeing CV-22B Osprey, now operated from Mildenhall by the 7th Special Operations Squadron, part of the 352nd Special Operations Wing. Previous demonstrations of the tilt-rotor machine at the Air Tattoo have involved US Marine Corps MV-22B models. A second CV-22B is due to be exhibited in the static park.
Another new special operations aircraft from Mildenhall making its debut on static display is an MC-130J Commando II version of the Hercules transport, from the 7th Special Operations Squadron. Stationed at the same base are the KC-135R Stratotanker air-to-air refuelling aircraft of the 351st Air Refueling Squadron, one of which will also attend the airshow on July 17-19.
The 493rd Fighter Squadron from nearby Lakenheath, known as the ‘Grim Reapers’, is due to send a pair of F-15C Eagle fighters to the show. These will be joined in the static line-up by two examples of a type once very familiar in British skies, the A-10 Thunderbolt II ‘tank-buster’. While no A-10s are now permanently based in Europe, the two A-10Cs taking part next month will be provided by a unit permanently stationed in the continental United States but on deployment to Europe.
Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The Air Tattoo has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with the US military. The support the US Air Force gives us in allowing our show to be staged at RAF Fairford, a USAF stand-by base, is invaluable and gratefully appreciated. I am very pleased that visitors to the Air Tattoo will have the opportunity to view this superb range of USAF aircraft next month.”
The Air Tattoo is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. Tickets for the event on July 17-19 are only available in advance. Tickets priced from £36 are available from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.